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The recent terrorist incidents in Tunisia have called public security in North Africa further into question among many contact center outsourcing clients that have relied on that region for the delivery of French-language services. While the extent to which CRM service delivery has been impacted is minimal, it is incumbent upon outsourcers servicing French-speaking consumers to consider developing alternative offshore locations in order to mitigate risk.

North Africa continues to suffer perception problems

Despite a reputation for very high-quality voice and non-voice contact center services, ongoing concerns linger around the political stability and public security in Morocco, Tunisia, and Egypt (all of which have large numbers of agents servicing French-speaking consumers in Canada and Europe), both among the general public and enterprise decision-makers. This was clear in Ovum's recently published 2015 CRM Outsourcing Business Trends Survey, in which security and stability-related concerns were identified as the key inhibitors for deploying contact centers in these three countries. In addition, when it comes to selecting a service provider, a large number of respondents indicated stability of the vendor's location (or locations) was a major consideration.

This is not to take away from the efforts of contact center outsourcers based in North Africa to provide secure facilities to their clients. However, it is clear that outsourcers should be looking at options that will allow for high-quality French services to be delivered from other parts of the world.

Outsourcers need to get creative in finding new delivery sites

Ovum believes that, if outsourcers servicing the French-speaking market are to succeed in the long term, balancing capacity between North Africa and other locations will be essential. To date, this strategy has been applied to the Canadian market, with successful targeted French-speaking deployments in the Dominican Republic. A logical next step would be to examine the possibility of setting up in neighboring Haiti (which was ranked surprisingly high in Ovum's 2015 CRM Outsourcing Business Trends Survey as a location enterprises would consider as an offshoring hub), where French is an official language, the infrastructure is being rebuilt, and competitive BPO incentive packages have been established. Mauritius – historically a pricier alternative than North Africa for French delivery – would be a logical alternative for European francophone contact center services. The key for outsourcers will be to apply the same creativity to finding alternative offshore French locations that was used for developing new offshore English- and Spanish-language sites for enterprises over the past decade.



Peter Ryan, Principal Analyst, IT Services

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